Yes, yes, we know we're all supposed to be praying for rain. But can you blame us if we're excited about this week's miniature heat wave? We normally spend the months of June through August staring dumbly at friends' Instagram pictures of beach days and lake houses, counting the days until October, when we burst out of our homes and haul ass toward Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, our pale San Franciscan bodies burning to a crisp at the first hint of sun exposure.
Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration. But still: Warm weather in these parts, during these months, is a special thing indeed. With this in mind, here are a few suggestions for events that will get you out of doors while it lasts. (And don't forget to pack the sunscreen.)
Thursday, July 30: Quinn DeVeaux and the Blue Beat Revue at the UC Botanical Garden. If you're already making a trek to check out the grossest flower ever, you could do a lot worse than to spend the rest of your evening spent in a beautiful redwood grove in the Berkeley hills, in the shade of 100-year-old trees — with one of the Bay Area’s hottest R&B crooners, no less. Details here.
Thursday, July 30: The First Annual Ginger Pride Festival at Dolores Park. Nuff said. Grab your redheaded stepsister and head on over at 6 pm for a photo booth (complete with ginger wigs), a specialty cocktail (Jameson and ginger ale, naturally), a silent disco, and an afterparty at Monarch at 10 pm. It's all open to gingers and ginger-allies alike.
Friday, July 31: Film Screening & Panel: Art & Trauma Through the Riot Grrrl Movement. This one isn't technically outdoors -- but the Luggage Store, the gallery where this screening and discussion will take place, is flanked by the Tenderloin National Forest, one of the most beautifully unexpected outdoor spaces in the city. Join punks, activists, and public health workers for a short sneak preview of My Rock n Roll Fantasy, a forthcoming documentary about Molly 16, who was a seminal figure in the riot grrrl scene of the '90s in the Pacific Northwest. If we're willing to sit through a dozen documentaries and biographies about Kurt Cobain each year, it's time to make space for a conversation about this too. Details here.
Friday, July 31: Wang Chung. Complete this lyric: “Everybody have fun tonight / everybody _______.” Don’t lie, you know the words to Wang Chung’s biggest synth-speckled hit, the 1986 song whose music video quickly became infamous for triggering seizures in some viewers. (See below, unless you have epilepsy!) You probably know “Dance Hall Days,” too. And while the British New Wave act probably won’t be returning to the charts anytime soon, there’s no denying the simple pleasure of shouting along to those choruses with a couple hundred other people — especially people who have been downing cheap beer and funnel cake all day before hitting the roller coasters, because you, my friend, are at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The free Friday concert series brings the group to the beach for what’s sure to be an evening of retro reminiscing like no other. Two separate shows; two separate chances to, um, Wang Chung tonight. Details!
Saturday, Aug. 1: Vintage Paper Fair. Looking for a calendar full of 1930s pinup girls -- that's actually from the 1930s? Maybe a postcard from long-gone vacation resort? Or a wedding announcement from, well, a time before wedding websites? Look no further than the Vintage Paper Fair, the annual gathering of typography geeks and stationery savants alike, where you can stock up on antique postcards, advertising, pinup art, local history, sports, entertainment and transportation memorabilia, and more. This traveling festival takes over Golden Gate Park for its yearly San Francisco appearance, with over a million items for sale under the roof of the County Fair building. Deets here.
Saturday, Aug. 1 - Sunday, Aug. 2: Art + Soul Oakland 2015. Come summertime, street fairs are a dime a dozen in the Bay Area, and it’s easy to assume they’re interchangeable as well. Not so fast -- this two-day fest full of music and food stands out from the pack. Its musical lineup is a who’s-who of local hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and blues, with an emphasis on musicians who wear their love for The Town on their sleeves — and the barbecue is superb to boot. At this 15th annual fest, catch Kev Choice (an Oakland pianist/MC who’s shared stages with Lauryn Hill, Too $hort, and the Coup) and members of the Family Stone. Then take a break to check out the super-talented teams participating in the National Poetry Slam, and some aerialists and acrobats from the Kinetic Arts Center. Wrap up the evening by making your way back to the concert area in time for a set from the legendary Sheila E., followed by the dynamic Zakiya Harris (check her out below), who’ll be opening for Talib Kweli to close out Stern Grove on Aug. 16. Details here.